Card Counter – Film Newspaper

A blank poker player, a traumatized Abu Ghraib veteran, and a remorseful Wilhelm Tell. Oscar Isaac acts simply and with maximum effect. As long as he’s in the picture – and he’s almost all the time – he’s there card counter really good.

card counter Not a poker movie. Luckily. Few cliched movies are more disturbing than the artificial tension of poker. This tension is also wrong, according to director Paul Schrader. As a part-time poker player, he knows that the game is often all about waiting, counting and luck – rarely based on intuition or real skill. That’s why it hits card counter The games are pretty much over. The world appears around him. A world without casinos and similar hotel lobbies, the lively chosen environment of empty poker player and ex-soldier William Tell, played by Oscar Isaac.

And what a beautiful thing about Isaac anyway. Tell’s role is played very low, with a flat face, and a closed posture. But with subtle movements, his face tells what his character thinks, feels, desires and fears. Nice to see. Schrader’s camera sometimes slowly zooms in on Isaac’s face, as if Schrader himself had become intrigued. As long as Isaac is in the picture, card counter In fact everything is fine – and that is almost all the time.

Opponent Ty Sheridan, as the son of ex-army buddy Little, looks disappointingly flat, but Isaac’s Single with Tiffany Haddish (so far known for comedic roles) is a standout. You manage a group of poker players and you want to convince him to play for more money. There’s romantic tension set up, but there’s also plenty of interpretations about poker and the poker world that can honestly be stolen from me.

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Abu Ghraib
On the back of the tattoo: “I trust my life in Providence / I trust my soul in Grace† This text has already appeared as dialects in Schraders light sleep (1992), in a song written by Michael Bean, father of Robert Levon Bean, author of The Card Counter. While the protagonist was light sleepWillem Dafoe, also played a moral ascetic similar to Isaac Here (and to the main characters that screenwriter Schrader wrote for Scorseses). taxi driver1976, his country first fix2017, and many other films). Dafoe now dives in card counter Like the former army chief at Tel Gordo.

You can write an entire article about these connections in the universe between Schrader’s films. But then, as the English say, you will ignore the elephant in the room. Abu Ghraib.

He was telling a soldier in Abu Ghraib when the torture took place there. Because he was seen in the photos, he was one of the few convicts, while senior officials, including the tyrant Gordo led by Dafoe, as well as political leaders such as Donald Rumsfeld (who blinked briefly) were removed from the photo. Schrader shows traumatic flashbacks to Abu Ghraib torturing a hill character at night, filled with torture, humiliation and deafening rock music.

Unfortunately, these scenes look a bit fake, but Schrader deserves credit for bringing this inconvenient truth to the fore. makes of card counter In addition to being a spiritual movie, it is also a political movie, just like in first fix It combined its persistent themes and original hero with a warning of the climate crisis.

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And now the name. William Tell. Of course, screenwriter Schrader doesn’t come up with this for nothing. In fact: Tell, Isaac’s character herself in the movie, was actually called Tillich. This undoubtedly refers to the Protestant theologian Paul Tillich, also a traumatized veteran. Tillich wrote, among other things, in his bestselling book Courage to beabout “the courage to accept yourself, despite the fact that it is not acceptable.”

Grace or grace
This, in a nutshell, is Isaac Till’s moral problem. He has served his sentence, but does not think he has been punished enough – no matter how little others have been punished. “Nothing can justify what we did there,” he says. It is and is still not acceptable. unforgivable. Burden of past deeds […] It can never be removed.” His tattoo is not asking for forgiveness either, it is asking Grace or graceGrace or grace. But then, according to theologian Tillich, he must accept this grace. And he can’t. Thus, the rejection of Tillich’s name could be seen as an abandonment of the idea of ​​redemption.

And William Tell? This is the English spelling of Swiss national hero Wilhelm Tell, who is particularly famous for throwing a crossbow with an apple to his son’s head. He didn’t do it for fun, but rather was forced by a senior tyrant. That was torture for the poor son, of course. For Wilhelm himself, it was a gruesome crossing of moral boundaries. Sound familiar? Wilhelm’s reaction to this also resonates in card counterI’ll leave that here as a potential spoiler. Anyway, it has nothing to do with poker. Luckily.

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